David Taggart Henderson (1894-1917)

WWI Plaque David Taggart Henderson 001When we cleared out my mother’s house back in 1999 we found an object in her cupboard which we were unsure about. Since neither of us lives in England, this was packed away in a box in my brother’s house and didn’t see the light of day for a while. When we dug it out again our curiosity was piqued and we decided to investigate what it was. It turned out be a “widow’s penny” given to the next of kin of those who lost their lives in World War One. This discovery set us off on the next quest. Who was this David Henderson and why did we have this wonderful memento? He was clearly a relative of my maternal grandmother, born Margaret Jane Henderson, but his name had never been mentioned before.

Further investigation showed him to be my granny’s cousin, David Taggart Henderson, son of her uncle John Henderson, born (1860-1898). Cousin David was only about 5 years older than my granny Meggy, so I assume there were quite close when they were growing up. John Henderson and his wife Mary lost another child in infancy, then Mary went on to marry John Baston and have a second family.

David T. Henderson can be found on the Amble War Memorial. He was an Able Seaman in the RNVR Hood Divsion and you can read more about him at this record on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. There is also a slightly damaged headstone cross memorial to him, his parents and his baby brother in Amble East Cemetery. I will add that to the blog another time.

Headstone: John Henderson & Harriet Miller Newton

IMG_0384 3For several years I hunted for a headstone for my 3rd great grandparents, John Henderson (1811-1894) and Harriet Miller Newton (1814-1893).

I acquired their death certificates and knew that John drowned at Lesbury in 1874 and Harriet died in Amble in 1893. They could not be buried with other Henderson relatives in Amble West Cemetery as that opened in 1905, but I still kept my eyes open to see if they might have been mentioned on a subsequent memorial there. The death dates made it possible for Harriet to be in Amble East Cemetery, but that opened a little too late for John. However, I still had a wander round the cemetery and checked an online list of burials. No luck there either. My next thought was Warkworth St. Lawrence’s Church. There were Hendersons there too, but not this couple.

Then finally the penny dropped. There was another cemetery in Warkworth too, on the road up to the beach. There they were, together with two of their boys: Henry Henderson (1846-1871)  and Archibald Henderson (1836-1874) – so easy to find once I finally got myself into the right place. It must have been tough on Harriet as she lost her son Archibald only 4 months after losing her husband.

Who was William Crackett of the Royal Navy?

William Crackett seaman probate 1806Wills and probate records are a valuable resource that I have not paid enough attention to. so far. Browsing through Cracket / Crackett probate records today I came across a William Crackett, Royal Naval Seaman, who died in 1806. Another interesting little conundrum.

Which William was this? Is he one of mine? Where did he travel to? Did he leave any little Cracketts in distant lands? I may have to invest in a copy of the will to see if it will give me any more clues.

101 years ago today

George Cracket, retired coal miner hewer, died age 78 on 20 June 1911 at Barrington, Bedlington in Northumberland. I belive this George Cracket to be my great grand-uncle born in 1833 in Cornhill-on Tweed to my great great grandparents William Cracket and Elisabeth Tait. Informant for the death was his son John Cracket.

For those of you who got the “draft” title in your reader – Oops, sorry. One of these days I will learn to always check the title before I publish. Sometimes I start to scribble a few weeks in advance then forget to check the heading before I line the post up for publication.

105 years ago today

My great great grandfather Randle Thornton died on 17 June 1907 at Amble in Northumberland. Randle was a 64-year-old coal miner when he died of Bright’s disease, which I understand to be chronic nephritis (kidney problems) and cardiac hypertrophy.

Randle married Mary Oliver in 1842 and they had 11 children: 5 girls and 6 boys. So far I have only focussed on the fates of two of their girls. Two Thornton sisters married two Henderson brothers. One of these couples was my great grandparents Archibald Henderson and Margaret Jane Thornton. The other couple was Newton Henderson and Mary Phyllis Thornton who are give rise to my California Henderson connection.

184 years ago today

George Murray, Agnes Dickson Murray and William Murray in Lennel churchyard

Agnes Dickson Murray died on 15 June 1868 at Coldstream, Scotland. Agnes was the second wife of my 3x great grandfather George Murray. I suppose that makes her my step 3x great granny. Their marriage was a brief one, lasting only four years. I have found only one child for George and Agnes: a daughter Jane Agnes Murray who was only six months old when her mother died.

(Since I missed out on my postaday on 14 June this is a catch-up post to make up for yesterday)

53 years ago today

Memorial to Newton Henderson at grave of wife Mary Phyllis

My great granduncle, Newton Henderson, died in Long Beach, California on 13 June 1959. Uncle Newt was born in Amble in Northumberland in 1874. He and his sons emigrated to USA after the death of his wife, Mary Phyllis Thornton. Although his grave is in California there is a memorial to him on his wife’s grave at Amble West Cemetery. When I was a child my granny used to take me with her regularly when she went to place flowers on this grave on behalf of her American cousins.